Psychiatry Consultation Service
Frequently asked questions
Q: What does the Psychiatry Consultation Service do?
A: Our service provides mental health care for children and families who are dealing with emotional and psychological stress due to medical illness and hospitalization. We offer short-term therapy and consultations for these patients, their parents and for other family members, such as siblings.
Q: Who does the Psychiatry Consultation Service treat?
A: We treat patients who have been admitted to Children’s for a medical condition, as well as their families.
Q: What types of issues do you help children and families with?
A: We support patients and their families who are struggling with one or more of the following issues:
- adjusting to a new or chronic illness
- balancing the needs of the family during the child’s hospitalization
- coping with anxiety and/or depression related to medical illness
- evaluating and taking medications as prescribed
- helping siblings understand and manage their own feelings
- following the medical treatment plan
- managing the aftermath of a traumatic event
- overcoming eating disorders (for example, refusing to eat because of nausea or discomfort relating to the medical illness)
- preparing for medical procedures, including needle-sticking for blood draws
preparing for surgery
Q: Do you also work with members of my child’s medical treatment team?
A: Yes.The Psychiatry Consultation Service works closely with your child’s attending physician and other medical caregivers. Members of the medical treatment team may request our services at any time. We also educate clinicians about the important relationship between physical illness and psychological distress.
Q: How can I make an appointment with the Psychiatry Consultation Service for my child?
A: While you may request an appointment for your child once he or she has been admitted to Children’s, you will first need to obtain approval from your child’s attending physician. Requests can also be made by other members of your child’s treatment team, including other physicians, nurses and nursing staff and social work professionals.
Q: At what times is the Psychiatry Consultation Service available?
A: Mental health clinicians in our Psychiatry Consultation Service are available from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday. If you would like to speak to a mental health provider after-hours on weekdays, or at any time on weekends, please ask a member of your child’s medical team to contact the on-call psychiatrist.
Q: Will my insurance cover your services?
A: Many insurance plans cover the care provided by the Psychiatry Consultation Service.
However, some insurance plans arrange for their mental/behavioral health services to be managed differently than their medical services. In these cases, Children’s Psychiatry Consultation Service may not be in your plan’s approved behavioral health network—even though your plan covers medical care provided by Children’s.
If your behavioral health plan does not cover care given by the Psychiatry Consultation Service—or if authorization is necessary for any other reason—we will do all we can to obtain the necessary approvals. Please note that the decision to authorize or deny coverage is made solely by your insurance provider. If you have questions or concerns about insurance coverage for mental health services, please contact your insurance plan using the number on the back of your subscriber identification card.
Q: I have received a bill for your services. What should I do?
A: The charges for Psychiatry Consultation Service care will be listed separately from your bill for your child’s medical care at Children’s Hospital Boston. Our services are billed under the name of your child’s treating psychiatrist or psychologist.
If you have received a bill for care provided by the Psychiatry Consultation Service, this means that your insurance provider does not cover all of the related charges. Please call 617-355-3397 with questions about billing.
Q: What if my family cannot afford care or does not have insurance?
A:The Psychiatry Consultation Service treats children and families regardless of their financial circumstances. If you have specific questions about affording care, please speak with your child’s treating psychiatrist or psychologist.
Q: Do you offer follow-up services on an outpatient basis?
A: The Psychiatry Consultation Service does not see patients or families on an outpatient basis. However, we are happy to refer you to our Psychiatry Outpatient Services for ongoing care after your child is discharged. Please call 617-355-6688 for more information about outpatient psychiatric services at Children’s.